The experience of infinity in nature: traveling with Anna-Eva Bergman

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Interior landscapes. Lands of Castile, Almeria, Menorca, Scandinavia, fjords, Finland. The south with the north, the north with the south. Landscapes interwoven with crossed experiences treasured in her memory are reflected in the work of abstract expressionist Norwegian painter Anna-Eva Bergman (1909-1987). Part of her work can be visited in the Velázquez Palace in the Retiro Park.

 With a non-figurative language that takes on the landscape like the main focus, From North to South, Rhythms, is composed by more than 70 pieces produced from 1962 to 1971 which address the dialogue between north and south Europe, inspired by the lands she traveled.

Her work could hold some similarity with that of the authors of North American abstraction, like Mark Rothko, Adolph Gotlieb or Ad Reinhardt. Like them her management of language is based on color and forms, the Norwegian painter achieves to pull in the viewer in the experience of infinity that wakes up nature, in a try to trap the intangible in the material of her works. It seems that being in front of it, instead of opening a door to the exterior, the experience is produced in the inside of those who observe, in a formal vibration of rhythms composed of lines and color schemes.

 Treasuring landscapes in memory

Landscapes are represented from the distance between the painting and what is perceived, transformed with time. The memory of rocks, dessert, cliffs, mountains, fjords, stars. A constructed language with layers that intermingle and modify the perception of color in function of the light.  Connecting the sky, the horizon, the earth, and its vibration. The impression of nature, categorical, in a clean dialogue of geometry. Personal vocabulary of forms that girdle to the rhythm of round rocks, and light, encounters with the horizon line.

Would it be each drawing, each painting, a trap to remember what traveled, preventing it from escaping? And is that Anna-Eva Bergman portrays her memory registers allowing  that in front of her work, we recognize as our own her places, making like our own her landscapes. Because of this, I imagined myself surrounded by big rocks of different geometric forms. Rocks, that I remember jumping and climbing from one to another in my childhood. I almost feel vertigo, attracted by the force between the material and the empty, abandoning to my weight the feeling of being wrapped by the immensity of the nature that surrounds me.

I travel, the light in the horizon, the sky in-between land and sea, Mediterranean landscapes, landscapes of the land of my mother, Sweden, memories that I hold like a precious treasure. It seems like the artist was able to move to a fine quantity of material (a painting) the infinite beauty of the universe’s reality. 

Photography: Óscar Rivilla

Music: Electrophorus

Translation: Covi López-Fanjul

Art Direction: Óscar Rivilla and Carolina Verd

Fashion: Ernesto Naranjo